Sacraments

  • Baptism

    Frequently asked questions and answers are below.

    Words in italics are from the Directory of Worship of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

    How do I prepare for Baptism?

    For young children —Parents meet with a pastor in order to explore the history and meaning of Baptism, personal reflection and sharing of faith journeys, as well as practical information for the Baptism.

    For youth —Youth are invited to speak with a pastor about profession of faith and participating in the confirmation process as part of learning about the sacrament of Baptism and what it means to claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

    For adults —Adults who have not previously been baptized are invited to speak with a pastor about profession of faith and discussion of the sacrament of Baptism and its many meanings for life in the Body of Christ we call the church as well as professing faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

    Where is the sacrament of Baptism administered?

    Baptism is not a private ceremony; it is a sacrament of the entire Church, involving God, the congregation, the pastor(s), parents and children. Therefore, Baptism is celebrated in a service of public worship and is accompanied by the reading and proclaiming of the Word.

    Do Presbyterians require Godparents?

    No. The congregation as a whole, on behalf of the Church universal, assumes responsibility for nurturing the baptized person in the Christian life. For any person who is being baptized, sponsor(s) may be appointed by the session in consultation with those desiring Baptism.

    Is there a fee for Baptism?

    No. Baptism is a celebration of the free grace of God in our lives.

    What will I be asked?

    For those desiring the Sacrament of Baptism for their children or for themselves shall be make vows that profess or reaffirm their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, renounce evil and rely on God’s grace, declare their intention to participate actively and responsibly in the worship and mission of the church, and promise to provide for the Christian nurture of their child. Those presenting children for Baptism shall promise to provide nurture and guidance within the community of faith until the child is ready to make a personal profession of faith and assume the responsibility of active church membership.

    What will the congregation be asked?

    The congregation will profess its faith, using the Apostles’ Creed, voice its support of those baptized, and express its willingness to take responsibility for the nurture of those baptized.

    May we take pictures?

    Baptism is a sacrament, celebrated in worship. Taking pictures during the worship service is strongly discouraged. However, the pastor(s) will be glad to share in a time of pictures after the worship service.

    What happens if the baby cries or is fussy during the Baptism?

    God’s grace is stronger than any child’s crying. Relax and enjoy the moment, which may be all the more memorable for a bit of vocal expression!

    Why Baptize?

    Baptism is the sign and seal of incorporation into Christ. Baptism points us back to the grace of God expressed in Jesus Christ, who died for us and was raised for us. As one of two sacraments of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Baptism is the sign and symbol of inclusion in God’s grace and covenant with the church. Both believers and their children are included in God’s covenant love. Children of believers are to be baptized without undue delay, but without undue haste.

    What is the goal of Baptism?

    Baptism signifies the beginning of life in Christ, not its completion. Baptism calls to repentance, to faithfulness, and to discipleship. Baptism calls for decision at at every subsequent stage of life’s journey. Baptism commissions the church for ministry to the world.

    How do I arrange for Baptism at the church?

    Call the church office to speak to our pastor, Laura Conrad. Together, you may select an available date and arrange for your preparation class. Baptisms are celebrated at both the 8:30 am worship service and the 10:45 am worship service. Baptisms are approved by the Session.

    Do parents have to belong to Fort Hill Presbyterian Church in order to have a child baptized?

    When a child is being presented for Baptism, ordinarily the parent or parents or one(s) rightly exercising parental responsibility shall be an active member of the congregation. The Session may consider a request for the Baptism of a child from a Christian parent who is an active member of another congregation.

  • Communion

    Communion (The Lord’s Supper) is one of the two Sacraments celebrated at Fort Hill Presbyterian Church. Presbyterians recognize two sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ: baptism and The Lord’s Supper. Almost all other Christian denominations also celebrate these sacraments.

    We celebrate The Lord’s Supper on special days and on Sundays:

    • 8:30 Worship Service – the first Sunday of each month
    • 10:30 Worship Service – the first Sunday of February, April, June, August, October, December
    What actions are involved?

    Following Christ’s example, the minister serving at the Lord’s Table takes bread and wine, gives thanks for them, breaks the bread, pours the wine, and gives them to the people. The people then eat and drink.

    Why are these actions important?

    By taking part in these actions, we remember the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, give thanks to God, share God’s love with one another, and look forward to the coming of God’s reign in all its fullness. These are only some of the dimensions of this “mystery of grace.”

    Who can participate in the sacrament?

    All who are baptized, regardless of denominational affiliation, are invited to participate. If you are not baptized and feel led to partake, please speak with a pastor about your interest in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Baptized children may receive communion, but participation in our Children’s Worship education for 1st and 2nd graders before taking communion is highly recommended.

    The Meaning of Communion

    sacramentsCommunion demonstrates the unity which is God’s gift to the church. When we eat and drink at the Lord’s invitation, we obey his command and respond to his prayer that the church “may be one” (Jn. 17:11). As a sign to others, the Supper is an “enacted parable” of God’s reconciliation of the world through Christ.

    To use an old Reformed term, Communion is also a “converting ordinance.” Through Word and Sacrament together, the Holy Spirit communicates the gospel, brings us closer to God and one another, disciples us, and empowers us for faithful living.

    By employing all the senses, the Lord’s Supper provides means for us to worship with our bodies as well as our intellect. To eat and drink at Christ’s invitation is to dedicate ourselves to Christ and to open ourselves to transformation.

    The Lord’s Supper is both a memorial meal and a feast of thanksgiving. In the Supper we meet the risen Christ, commune with saints both past and present, and share a foretaste of the messianic banquet. Sealed in God’s covenant of grace through eating and drinking at the Lord’s Table, we are nourished to be Christ’s body in the world. The Lord’s Supper is indeed “the joyful feast of the people of God.”

    You are invited to take part in the Lord’s Supper, responding to the Spirit’s call, sharing the risen Christ, and receiving the grace offered freely by the Triune God who has given us this sacrament.